February 01, 2023

Warren, Markey, Keating Urge MassDOT, Army Corps, and OMB to Take All Necessary Steps to Secure Federal Grant for the Cape Cod Bridges

Text of Letter to MassDOT (PDF) / Text of Letter to Army Corps and OMB (PDF) 

Washington, D.C.  – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Representative Bill Keating (MA-09) sent a letter to Jamey L. Tesler, Acting Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) regarding the need for MassDOT to act quickly to take the necessary steps to obtain funding for the Cape Cod Bridges and to closely coordinate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to submit a more competitive federal grant application in fiscal 2023. The lawmakers also sent letters to Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary for Civil Works at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Shalanda Young, Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), urging the Corps to provide significant funds to replace the bridges.

“The Baker administration dropped the ball on prioritizing state support to replace these critical bridges and I'm working alongside Governor Healey, who is keenly focused on securing federal dollars, to win investment from the bipartisan infrastructure law.  MassDOT and the U.S Army Corps need to better coordinate for a more competitive grant application in the next cycle,” said Senator Warren.

In their letter to MassDOT, the lawmakers wrote, “The Cape Cod Bridges replacement is exactly the type of project that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was designed to fund, and is a key to modernizing Massachusetts’ physical infrastructure to meet the economic, social, and environmental challenges of the 21st century. … Moving forward, it is imperative that MassDOT accelerate and better coordinate in order to secure funding for this bridges project.”

“We are hopeful that under the leadership of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, your agency can make a fresh start and execute this project with the urgency and vision it demands. … We remain fully committed to working with federal, state, and local partners until Cape Cod residents get the safe, secure public infrastructure they deserve.

“The Bridges are vital assets for the Cape Cod economy and surrounding communities, but they are in desperate need of replacement,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter to the Corps and OMB. “With more than 35 million vehicles crossing the canal each year, the Bridges are also the sole access point for vehicular traffic to and from Cape Cod and serve as essential routes for general transportation, tourism, and evacuations in case of an emergency. …Today, the Bridges pose a significant risk to the accessibility, economy, and health of the Cape Cod region.”

They continued, “We will continue to do our part in Washington on behalf of the Commonwealth, but the Corps — with MassDOT’s assistance — is responsible for submitting more competitive grant applications in fiscal 2023.”

The letter to the Corps concluded, “You have repeatedly committed to us — in public and private — that the Bridges project is a top priority. Now is the time to demonstrate that commitment by translating those words into numbers.”

In 2020, the Corps released its report determining that rehabilitation efforts would be more costly and burdensome for the Corps and the Cape’s residents and visitors, and ultimately concluded that constructing new bridges would better improve travel, safety, and accessibility to and from the Cape. Following this conclusion, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Keating worked to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in 2021 to provide the Corps with a more than $11 billion increase in funding specifically for new construction projects and more than $9 billion in formula funds for Massachusetts. The lawmakers then convened a meeting in January 2022 with leaders from the Corps, MassDOT, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to detail efforts to replace the Bridges and again in April 2022 with MassDOT and the Corps. In recent years, Senators Warren and Markey have led the Massachusetts congressional delegation in writing directly to the Department of Transportation to stress their support of the Corps and MassDOT’s applications for federal grants, most recently in May and August of last year. The lawmakers’ shared efforts most recently culminated in a $1.6 million planning grant for the project, awarded a few weeks ago.